Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Darwin's Evolutions: A Journal of Speculative Fiction

  • Zine: Darwin's Evolutions: A Journal of Speculative Fiction
  • Editor(s): Darwin A. Garrison
  • Pay Rate: $50 plus royalties upon earn out
  • Response Time: 2 to 4 weeks
  • Reading Period: Continuous
  • Description: Science fiction and fantasy adventure entertainment novelettes and novellas.
  • Submission Guidelines: darwinsevolutions.com

NOTE: Author D.L. Snell conducted the following interview to give writers a better idea of what the editors of this specific market are seeking; however, most editors are open to ideas outside of the preferences discussed here, as long as they fit the basic submission guidelines.

1) What authors do you enjoy, and why does their writing captivate you?
Let's see: Julie Czerneda, Kristin Britain, Anne Aguirre, David Weber, John Ringo, Tom Kratman, Michael Z. Williamson, Dave Freer, Sarah Hoyt, Jim Butcher. Folks who tell stories that grab your attention and don't let go from beginning to end. It's a function of having exciting, empathetic characters actively taking part in their own fate while experiencing a fast paced and intriguing plot.

2) What are your favorite genres? Which genres would you like to see incorporated into submissions to this market?
I read across the science fiction and fantasy genres. I also follow a good bit of military science fiction. As for Evolutions, my primary goal is to acquire stories that have real traction to get the reader hooked and turning the page and then leaving them with a solid and satisfying ending. I'm not concerned about obtaining one genre or another in preference. What I want is high performance stories.

3) What settings most intrigue you? Ordinary or exotic locales? Real or fantasy? Past, present, or future?
The locale doesn't draw me except as enjoyable ornamentation to the characters and the plot. I appreciate well developed settings when they're properly related through the telling, but I don't much desire one type over another.

4) Explain the type of pacing you enjoy, e.g. slow building to fast, fast throughout, etc.
A good story hooks and doesn't let go. The pace can be blistering or it can surge like waves depending on the storyteller. The proper meter for a particular story is a direct function of the author's storytelling style and the presentation of the characters. I can no more dictate one sort of pacing than I can tell people what characters should be wearing. The proof comes in the reading and success is primarily due to author proficiency.

5) What types of characters appeal to you the most? Any examples?
The characters that draw me most into a telling are the battlers. The ones determined not to give up no matter what the cost. The biggest turn off is a whiny victim, especially if they pretend to be esoteric and intellectual about it.

6) Is there a specific tone you'd like to set in your publication? What kind of voices grab you and keep you enthralled? Any examples?
I think that what you will never likely see in Evolutions are stories that are devoid of hope. I despise anything that smacks of the nihilism that seems to infest literary fiction recently. What I want is for people to be confident that when they open a copy of Darwin's Evolutions they will be entertained and left, if not uplifted, at least not suicidally depressed.

7) What is your policy for vulgarity, violence, and sexual content? Any taboos?
We are not a market for gore, smut, erotica, horror, or tales featuring profanity-laden diatribes by any character. Think of the rating as PG-13 for language and R for sex. If it turns me off or is something that I would be embarrassed for my wife or children to find lying about the house, then it's out. Also, when some activist or another trots out a fictional piece justifying their mania, I get to round-file the submission instantly.

8) What kind of themes are you seeking most in submissions to this market? In general, what themes interest you?
I'm not interested in dictating themes. I don't have a goal in mind for the stories to build towards. Like I said previously, I want stories that hook the reader and keep them turning pages until the story ends in a satisfactory manner. Perhaps that's not a valid market model. Maybe I should be terrified at myself for not having an overarching meme that I want DE stories to ascribe to. Thing is, other than "science fiction and fantasy adventures", I have nothing more to add.

9) Overall, do you prefer downbeat or upbeat endings?
This was debated hotly in a blog I watch the other day and it made me stop and think. My final decision was, "I prefer appropriate endings." You don't end a tragedy with sunshine and roses except as a final ironic twist of the knife. And you don't end an uplifting piece with the heroes skipping through the carnage and laughing. My key point is to avoid nihilistic "life sucks" endings. A ray of hope in an otherwise dark end is not a bad end in my opinion. Likewise, a hint that nothing is ever completely good or evil in the ending of a heroic adventure is definitely apropos of reality. The key, though, is that the ending must fit the narrative and be a solid conclusion.

10) Any last advice for submitters to this market? Any critical dos or don’ts?
Don't be afraid to submit. Do read a publication's guidelines before submitting. Don't give up when the rejections roll in. Do keep writing.

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D.L. Snell writes with Permuted Press. He edited Dr. Kim Paffenroth twice, John Dies at the End once, and provided a constructive critique to Joe McKinney on his next major novel after Dead City. You can shoot D.L. Snell in the head at www.exit66.net.

To reprint this article, please contact D.L. Snell.

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